Raring to go
Sale prop Alasdair Dickinson tells Sky Sports why he has been a frustrated spectator over the summer
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: June 28, 2012 8:55am
Sale prop Alasdair Dickinson can't wait for the new season to start after a frustrating summer watching rugby.
The 28-year-old Scotland international is not used to spending his summer's with his feet up in front of the television - with Dickinson more accustomed to appearing on it with his country.
However Dickinson has been forced to take it easy following a much-needed shoulder operation to correct a problem that limited him to just 15 games in his maiden season at the Sharks and saw him miss the RBS Six Nations.
And Dickinson, who had previous spells at Edinburgh and Gloucester, is itching to get going once again - especially with the move to the Salford City Stadium and Bryan Redpath coming in as director of rugby.
"The shoulder is getting there," Dickinson told Sky Sports. "I'm nine weeks post-op no so it is a case of stepping things up.
"I was told I would be back to full contact after 12/13 weeks so in another few weeks I will be there but I will certainly be fit for the start of the season all being well.
"It has been a long, long summer. I had issues with the shoulder since November and ended up missing the Six Nations and stuff so I needed to get it sorted.
"I've had enough of watching and reading about rugby. It will just be nice to get back out there and play again."
Alasdair Dickinson Quotes of the week
"But I've had enough of watching and reading about rugby, though. It will just be nice to get back out there and play again. These are exciting times at Sale, what with the new stadium and coaches, so I just can't wait for the season to start.
"I have been watching a lot of rugby - it's been frustrating. I tend not to watch a lot normally but when you are injured it is hard not to. You are just sat at home a lot during rehab and it is just on.
"It has been my first summer off since I was 21/22 so it has been a bit of a weird feeling but hopefully it will end up adding a couple of years to my career."
Dickinson, who has been capped 24 times, is already stepping up preparations for his long-awaited comeback with a return to pre-season.
And the Dundee-born front-rower is hoping to reap the rewards of the lung-busting, muscle-searing sessions.
"I did a couple of weeks pre-season with Sale when I came back from Scotland and it was two of the hardest weeks of my life. This year has been just as brutal," he said.
"Nigel Ashley-Jones certainly works you hard but as players we will get the benefits from it when the season starts."
Dickinson arrived at Sale from Gloucester last season as part of a mammoth overhaul of playing staff - with Steve Diamond making wholesale changes following years of underachievement.
"We have added some real quality to the squad and in each position there's two class players."
Alasdair Dickinson Quotes of the week
That resulted in a top-six finish - and a Heineken Cup place - for the Sharks. However this season, the recruitment has been more quality over quantity with Richie Gray, Effion Lewis-Roberts and Danny Cipriani all signing.
And Dickinson is impressed with the new arrivals.
"Richie has been on fire for the last couple of season with both Glasgow and Scotland, while big Effion has been playing well for Toulon," said Dickinson.
"I think everyone is aware of how exciting a talent Danny is. I haven't seen a lot him playing for the Rebels but what I have seen has been pretty exciting.
"We have added some real quality to the squad and in each position there's two class players. That is good because it brings out the best in you as everyone wants to play. It is going to be tough to get in that starting XV but as a player that is what you want."
And Dickinson believes the competition for places will see Sale build on their success from last season - although the club are yet set any official targets.
"At the moment we are doing strength and conditioning work - and a few ball skills - but once everyone is back we will look at setting some goals," he said. "Bryan Redpath has not been in the job long either, so he is settling in.
"As players, though, a top-four finish has got to be the target along with a good run in the Heineken Cup.
"We got to the top-six last season so we have got to look at that and build on it."